Editorial: Dr. Seuss ethics

Progress is inevitable. These aren’t America’s finest days, but it won’t last forever. 

It is easy to lose hope and feel helpless when it seems like every time you turn the news on, people are dying and those in power are failing us. 

In honor of the 114th anniversary of a beloved author’s birthday, we urge everyone to take advice from Dr. Seuss. His words, written for children and shared around the world through whimsical, colorful characters, transcend party lines, age and nationalities. 

Here are a few of our favorite excerpts that we have found helpful in channeling our frustration, confusion, horror and sorrow- especially in the wake of the 17 individuals killed in the Parkland, Florida shooting. 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

-“The Lorax” 

Progress is slow until someone decides that they will be the one to come forward and do something. Waiting around for someone else to take that step is a huge barrier to forward motion. Speak up and make your concerns known. You will be surprised to see how many people have been waiting for you to do just that. 

“Don’t give up! I believe in you all! A person’s a person, no matter how small!” 

-“Horton Hears a Who” 

“Horton Hears a Who” was published in 1954 in the midst of the civil rights movement. “A person is a person, no matter how small!” Whether you have been marginalized for the color of your skin, or for your age or any other factor- you are still a person. Your voice matters and it is more important now than ever that you share your thoughts and experiences and know that Dr. Seuss and much of the nation supports you and believes in you – don’t give up. 

“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say.” 

-“Green Eggs and Ham” 

This may have been written about “Green Eggs and Ham,” but we can all apply this to more areas of our lives. We are all so busy feeling like we are right about everything and that we have got it all figured out. Take a moment to stop talking and just listen. Listen to the other side – the other eight sides- of the argument. Recognize that we are all limited by our own experiences, try to imagine why somebody might feel the way that they do. Push yourself to understand what in their lives brought them to this stance, and what in your own life has brought you to where you stand. It is not easy, but important. You don’t have to agree, you don’t even have to change your opinion at all, but try to listen. Try and you may learn something new. 

“We’ve got to make noises in greater amounts! So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!” -”Horton Hears a Who” 

If what you would like to see happening is not happening, 

“we’ve got to make noises in greater amounts.” As a nation, we have some serious issues to sort out. The decisions we make and the laws put into place should be a reflection of the ideals of the people in this country. These decisions are much less likely to reflect your own values if you do not participate and make your voice count. Join groups, engage in tough conversations and VOTE! Make your voice heard equally as important, lift the voices of those who do not share the same privilege as you. If you care deeply about gun control, speak up for the children who lost their voices. If gun rights are important to you, speak up for the military heroes who have lost their lives protecting our right to bear arms. No matter where you stand on any issue, if you want to see change, make noises in greater amounts.